Canning, Victor: The Great Affair
Charles Nelo Sangster is a de-frocked minister just out of jail for fraud; fraud with the best of intentions (to provide money for La Guicha who takes care of hundreds of children in France close to Evian) but fraud nevertheless. Canning quotes Robert Louis Stevenson to set the reader right regarding the kind of affair that the story is about. “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” And the story does move. It is a mystery, a spy novel, a romance and love affair and an adventure story. It involves stolen diamonds (numerous times by various people), a randy countess, a stolen Monet, an all-powerful pseudo-government agency, and a few attempted killings. If you expect a typical who-dunnit with bodies littering the landscape, this isn’t it. If you want a really interesting mystery without gratuitous murders, torture, blackmail etc. this is it.